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Business Development
2 minute read | 9 years ago

Design a Successful Business Development Training Program

Photo of Nathaniel Slavin By: Nathaniel Slavin

Part 1: Intro to the Grid

In this multi-part series, we explore the basics of creating an integrated business development training curriculum.

We know lawyers are incredibly busy people. And we also know lawyers, like everyone else, each learn differently. These two facts—lack of time and individual learning styles—reinforce the need for firms to create a business development training curriculum that can adapt to individual schedules and preferences.

In most firms, a small percentage of confident and creative lawyers are responsible for most new clients. These rainmakers seem to have a natural sense of the needs and misgivings of client prospects and are better able to quickly build relationships with their prospects. Most lawyers don’t possess these skills naturally and few learn them in law school. Still, there is good news. With the right training, everyone has the potential—and responsibility—to contribute to business development in a manner that engenders client loyalty and impacts the bottom line.

So how do you create a business development curriculum for lawyers in different practices, at different stages of their careers and with different strengths and abilities? Start by outlining what is most important for your firm’s lawyers to know and do. Then develop a training grid working from two points of reference:

First, agree on what is most important for your lawyers to know/do to improve business development performance and success. We have identified four fundamental components (tools) of business development:

  • Product knowledge
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Professional reputation
  • Client service

Next, offer training through a variety of training settings to accommodate personal learning preferences, schedules, interests and opportunities. The three basic training settings include:

  • Retreats and offsite meetings
  • Classroom style “brown bag” seminars
  • Self-help, self-pace programs 




 After creating the grid, you can begin to plug in the specific programs or resources for each of the four business development fundamentals depending on firm priorities and strategies. Once complete, the grid provides an easily understandable overview of what lawyers need to learn and the various training options available to them. 

 Over the next few weeks, we will take an in-depth look at each of the components of business development training listed above. We will with start with product knowledge, so stay tuned to get your business development on track.

For questions or to learn how McMurdo Consulting can help your firm create a one-size-fits-one business development training strategy, contact Kevin at or 206.849.5358.